- Rocket launch
A rocket launch is the first phase of the flight of a
rocket. For orbital spaceflights, or for launches into interplanetary space, rockets are launched from a launch pad, which is usually a fixed location on the ground but may also be on a floating platform such as the San Marco platform, or the Sea Launchlaunch vessel.
suborbital flights (including missilelaunches), can also be from:
mobile launcher vehicle
**from a plane (e.g.
Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne, Skybolt Ballistic Missile, X-15)
balloon( Rockoon, da Vinci Project(under development))
*a surface ship (
Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System)
Launches not into space can also be from:
"Rocket launch technologies" generally refers to the entire set of systems needed to successfully launch a vehicle, not just the vehicle itself, but also the
firing control systems, ground control station, launch pad, and tracking stations needed for a successful launch and/or recovery.
When launching a spacecraft to orbit, a "dogleg" is a guided, powered turn during ascent phase that causes a rocket's flight path to deviate from a "straight" path. A dogleg is necessary if the desired launch azimuth, to reach a desired orbital inclination, would take the ground track over land (or over a populated area, e.g. Russia usually does launch over land, but over unpopulated areas). Doglegs are undesirable due to extra onboard fuel required, causing heavier load, and a reduction of vehicle performance.
Commercial launch service providers include:
*Boeing Launch Services Inc. (BLS) -
Sea Launch- Zenit-3SL ( Zenit rocketstages 1 and 2 with EnergiaBlock DM-SL upper stage)
EADS SPACE Transportation/ Arianespace- Ariane rocket
International Launch Services(ILS) [http://www.ilslaunch.com/] - Proton rocket
United Launch Alliance(ULA) - Delta IV And Atlas V
Starsem- Soyuz launch vehicle
ISRO- PSLV, GSLV
Viewing rocket launches
United States, dates for commercial and manned space launches are matters of public record, and are available months ahead of time. The exact dates of military launches remain confidential until only days before, but the months are public as well.
With the exception of the
Space Shuttle, the visitor complex of the John F. Kennedy Space Centerin Floridais open to the general public (with a nominal admission fee) for viewing rocket launches from the Space Center and from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Viewing Space Shuttle launches from the visitor center requires special reservations. The visitor center is generally 10 km (6 miles) from the launch pads. Special reservations for the Space Shuttle are required because it is a much more powerful vehicle than the expendable launch vehicles currently in use, as well as the possibility of a disaster that would result in immediate death for the astronauts, such as the explosion of "Challenger" at the launch of mission STS-51-L. Outside the center itself, the best launch viewing sites are along the beaches within the vicinity.
Russiafrom the Baikonur Cosmodromein Kazakhstancan best be viewed from the city of Baikonur.
Launches by the
European Space Agencyfrom Guiana Space Centrein French Guianacan best be viewed from Kourouor the surrounding beaches.
If a rocket is launched to deliver a payload from a planetary surface into space it is called a
There are several broad categories that launch vehicles fall under, including:
Expendable launch system
Reusable launch system
Single stage to orbit
Two stage to orbit
For the launch vehicles currently in use for
human spaceflight, see that article.
There were ca. 46 launches into space in 2004.
list of rockets
* [http://www.skyrocket.de/space/doc_chr/lau2004.htm Scheduled and past launches, in principal all orbital launches ever]
* [http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/launches/launch_schedule.html Scheduled and past launches, in principal all from 1999]
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